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Mainline Evangelism Project

The Mainline Evangelism Project was a four year research initiative funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment (2002-2006). This initiative was designed to identify and analyze highly effective examples of evangelism by congregations in seven mainline denominations. The project focused primarily on the motivations for mainline evangelism across a broad geographical, cultural and theological spectrum, as well as the means, structures and systemic realities that encourage evangelism.

The Project's architect and director, Martha Grace Reese, JD, MDiv., has published a practical book for congregational groups and pastors, Unbinding the Gospel: Real Life Evangelism (Chalice Press, January 2007), as well as two more books to help with more intensive congregational adoption of the effective practices and haibts of prayer and faith-sharing (Unbinding Your Heart and Unbinding Your Church, collectively known as the Real Life Evangelism Series, Chalice Press January 2008).

A detailed sociological report of the Mainline Evangelism Project's survey of the beliefs and practices of highly effective evangelistic congregations, by Jacqueline E. Wenger, Martha Grace Reese and J. Kristina Tenny-Brittian, is now available.


January 1, 2008 NEWS: The Lilly Endowment has announced that it will award a second major grant to support coaching and training using the Real Life Evangelism Series in 1000+ congregations over the course of the next four years. This initiative will also support research into the dynamics and patterns of congregational transformation with the introduction of the Series' focus - faith deepening and faith sharing. Information about this new grant, known as the Unbinding the Gospel Project, will be available on this web site by January 8, 2008.

Contact GraceNet for more information on the project, or for speaking, consulting and coaching services.